Harris EnglishOn a beautiful day at Waialae Country Club with a blazing sun, and just enough wind to make the players think, he had a 65. The large group one behind also included Olympic Silver medalists Rory SabbatiniSlovakia
Seonghyun KimSouth Korea was at 5 under with two holes left when the first round was halted due to darkness.
Spieth won the Texas Open 2021 in his fourth year of playing without a win. He also won another victory at Hilton Head last summer. The slow swing rehearsal that Spieth used to instill the changes to his swing was missing on this day.
His key word was freedom. It sure seemed that way at Waialae. He made three birdies in a stretch of four holes around the turn. His only disappointment was having had to settle for par on the par-5 ninth.
Spieths drive on the 426-yard 12th green was the best. It rolled along the wet turf and ended 83 yards away. The distance was not what made Spieth stand out, as he had to hit a lob wedge at 12 feet to make birdie, but his swing.
I call it in front of fade, meaning that my sequence was amazing. It was on plane. It was exactly what I had been striving for, Spieth stated. And I just hit this 5-yard fade, which held the wind up to the fairways middle.
When that shot was taken, I walked off feeling that it could be a great day if I keep pushing how that just felt, he said.
It was just what it turned out.
Waialae holds happy memories for Kirk. After a year of struggling with alcoholism, and depression, he was able to make one last attempt at a medical extension to keep the card. He shot 65 on the last day to tie second and regain full playing privileges.
He is now in a good position and he made birdies to beat two bogeys.
Kirk, like most of the players in the first full-field tournament, hadnt played in seven weeks after the RSM Classic at Sea Island. He was a hard worker in the offseason, particularly on his fitness, but he is now a seasoned player.
Kirks hard work was not without its rewards. There were also some great times. Jake Crane, a former baseball player, was Kirks new trainer. He said that he would take swings or pitch during downtime.
There is not much chance of a career shift. His fastball averages at 65 mph. He is proud of his breaking pitch. Its mostly about his condition.
Kirk stated, I always feel good and fit when I go to the tournament. Thats what I consider my No. This year, my No. 1 goal is to maintain it and work harder at the gym in the off weeks.
Montgomerys biggest concern was his seven-week absence from the fall schedule. He played well. The Las Vegas rookie placed in the top 15 at six tournaments and didn’t seem to miss any beat.
Montgomery said that Montgomerys longest break was the 10 days he was without a club in his hand while visiting family in Nevada or Colorado.
He stated, When youre playing on the golf course, you think about going on vacation. Then when you go on vacation, I feel like Im thinking of golf.
His putting has not left him and he gets a fresh start Friday.
Michael CastilloKapaluas club pro, who was battling cancer at the time, qualified for his first PGA Tour event with a 79.